Bi Awareness Week takes place every year from 16 September, ending with Bi Visibility Day on the 23rd. According to Wikipedia, this event is “a call to recognise and celebrate bisexual history, bisexual community and culture, and all the bisexual people in their lives”.
Normally, Pride in CCS would be holding events and talks along with our colleagues in other government departments — but what does ‘recognising and celebrating’ actually look like now, with everyone continuing to work from home for the foreseeable future? How can we recognise each other, when we haven’t even seen each other in person for six months?
It might seem a little odd to have a Bi Awareness Week at all – after all, what’s there to be ‘aware’ of, really? Bi people – those of us who are attracted to both people of our own gender AND people with a different gender – were one of the later groups to be added to the ‘alphabet soup’ of the LGBTQ+ acronym, and often we can be among the less visible, because we’re perceived as gay when we’re in a same-sex relationship, and straight when we’re not.
But nobody thinks that someone in a monogamous relationship loses the ability to be attracted to anyone else, ever – and in the same way, a bisexual person in an apparently ‘straight’ relationship doesn’t stop being bi! I normally describe it as the exact opposite of supporting a football team – we’re choosing a person, not choosing a side. And isn’t that what anyone who falls in love does, really?
While this is perhaps the most common misconception about bi people I’ve heard repeated, there are many more – that we’re greedy or untrustworthy, we’re ‘just experimenting’, that we can’t be faithful, that we’re ‘not really LGBTQ+’ – and the aim of Bi Awareness Week is to give people a chance to talk about these ideas, and to counter them by discussing them openly.
Nobody can be expected to know everything, or to understand what they’ve never encountered before. Honest questions are not offensive, and absolutely beat the stuffing out of uncritically repeating stereotypes! As they say, the best disinfectant is daylight – and the best way to know what bi people are really like is by actually getting to know us.
So, hi. If you haven’t met me before – I’m Bethan, I work for the User Research & Design Team, I’m vice chair of CCS’s LGBTQ+ Network, I’m a massive superhero and science fiction nerd… and I’m bi.
I’m not necessarily asking to be celebrated (although it was my birthday on Monday, so you can if you like!), but if there’s anything you want to know, please feel absolutely free to reach out and ask. Alternatively, if you’d like to know more, or would like support, Pride In CCS meet over Hangouts once a month – whether you identify as LGBTQ+ or as an ally, we’d love to have you as a member! Please contact me or our network chair, Dan Page, to join us. #CCSfamily #wellbeingwednesday
Internal staff can access this blog on the Crown Commercial Service intranet.
Does your department network have a blog post to share on our website celebrating Bisexual Awareness Week or Day? Email the Civil Service LGBT+ Network with your contribution.